Grub Street was a real place, a place of poverty and vice. It was also a metaphor for journalists and other writers of ephemeral publications and, by implication, the infant newspaper industry. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, journalists were held in low regard, even by their fellow journalists who exchanged torrents of mutual abuse in the pages of their newspapers. But Grub Street's vitality and its battles with authority laid the foundations of modern Fleet Street. In this book, Bob Clarke examines the origination and development of the English newspaper from its early origin in the broadsides of the sixteenth century, through the burgeoning of the press during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to its arrival as a respectable part of the establishment in the nineteenth century. Along the way this narrative is illuminated with stories of the characters who contributed to the growth of the English press in all its rich variety of forms, and how newspapers tailored their contents to particular audiences. As well as providing a detailed chronological history, the volume focuses on specific themes important to the development of the English newspaper. These include such issues as state censorship and struggles for the freedom of the press, the growth of advertising and its effect on editorial policy, the impact on editorial strategies of taxation policy, increased literacy rates and social changes, the rise of provincial newspapers and the birth of the Sunday paper and the popular press. The book also describes the content of newspapers, and includes numerous extracts and illustrations that vividly portray the way in which news was reported to provide a colourful picture of the social history of their times. Written in a lively and engaging manner, this volume will prove invaluable to anyone with an interest in English social history, print culture or journalism.
'…a highly entertaining and informative introduction to English newspaper history…' The Times Literary Supplement 'In this buoyant account, Bob Clarke takes us up to the end of the 19th century…the study is larded with choice samples of 18th-century journalism…(and) illustrated with pages from the papers of the past …He gives a good overview of historical developments…(the book) has a relish for its subject…' The Guardian 'It is indeed a scholarly piece of work, well structured, comprehensive, impeccably end-noted and referenced, and written in clear and unpretentious style. It is also generously and informatively illustrated.' British Journalism Review '… this is a racy, erudite account…The author is to be congratulated on a volume - written in a lively manner - that packs a great deal of information, much of it not previously published.' Press News 'What Bob Clarke does so effectively in his new book is to combine readable history with extracts and illustrations that give a real flavour of what those newspapers were really like…' Rare Book Review '…notable for its refreshing and engaging presentation of factual information without overmuch theoretical rumination … Recommended …' Choice 'Clarke […] gives a vivid and entertaining account of the social milieu of Grub Street…' Sharp News
Contents: Part 1 Grub Street: Grub Street: an introduction; The beginnings of the English newspaper, 1513-1695; The developing newspaper, 1695-1750; The mature 18th century newspaper, 1750-1800; Provincial newspapers. Part 2 The Content of the 18th Century Newspaper: Advertisements; Robberies and bloody murders: home news; Foreign news, wars and shipwrecks. Part 3 Fleet Street: The Times, the Fourth Estate and the Sunday paper; Fleet Street: an epilogue. Notes; English newspapers: a brief chronology of dates; Bibliography; Index.